Parental intention to support the use of computerized cognitive training for children with genetic neurodevelopmental disorders

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Robb, Nigel
Northridge, James
Politis, Yurgos
Zhang, Bo
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Children with genetic neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) such as Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome may show a range of cognitive impairments, including impairments in executive functioning (EF). EF are related to general intelligence, academic achievement, and literacy and mathematical skills. EF deficits are linked to a variety of clinically and socially important behaviours. Therefore, methods for improving EF in children with NDDs could be beneficial. One method for improving EFs is through cognitive training. Research on commercial brain training programmes and video games suggests that EF can be improved through training, both in healthy adults and in children with NDDs. Computerised cognitive training (CCT) therefore represents a potentially viable intervention for children with NDDs. For training to be effective, it is important that an appropriate regimen is followed. Since children are likely to engage with training at home, the intentions of their parents to support them are therefore important. However, no research has investigated the attitudes of parents of children with NDDs to CCT. To address this, we developed a questionnaire based on the theory of planned behaviour, which states that a person’s intention to engage in a behaviour is predicted by (1) their attitude toward the behaviour, (2) their perception of subjective norms regarding the behaviour (i.e., perceived social pressure), and (3) their perceived control over the behaviour. The questionnaire was completed by parents of children with NDDs; 58 unique responses were retained for analyses. Parents reported low levels of knowledge of CCTs, and low levels of experience with CCTs (both their own experience and their child’s experience). However, our results also show that parents of children with NDDs have positive beliefs about the potential of CCT to benefit their children and intend to support the use of CCT by their children. Linear modelling showed that, of the three constructs of the theory of planned behaviour, only attitudes significantly predicted intention. Finally, parents’ beliefs about the benefits of CCT correlated positively with positive attitudes towards such training. We also found limited evidence that parents of boys have more positive attitudes regarding CCT than parents of girls.
Intellectual disability , Cognitive training , Developmental disabilities , Theory of planned behavior , Assistive technology
Robb, N., Northridge, J., Politis, Y. and Zhang, B., 2018. Parental Intention to Support the Use of Computerized Cognitive Training for Children With Genetic Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Frontiers in public health, 6, (309). DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00309